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Leslie Jones Defends Herself After Slavery Jokes on Saturday Night Live Spark Backlash

As one of Saturday Night Live‘s newest writers, Leslie Jones is definitely making her voice heard—but not everyone likes what she has to say. Jones sparked intense controversy this weekend when she appeared on the May 3 episode of SNL and performed a short bit about how her love life would have been “way better” “back in the slave days.” 

During the sketch—part of Colin Jost‘s Weekend Update segment—Jones joked that she “would have never been single” during the pre-Civil War era, because (to paraphrase) her strength would have made her ideal for breeding. At one point, she referred to herself as “the No. 1 slave draft pick.”

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Many viewers found Jones’ jokes offensive — and they had no problem letting her know via Twitter. The stand-up comedian was bombarded with messages from upset viewers, including Ebony Magazine digital senior editor Jamilah Lemieux, who wrote: “This Leslie Jones person is an embarrassment. I’m so appalled right now.”

Leslie Jones
After Leslie Jones’ Saturday Night Live Weekend Update bit about slavery sparked outrage online, the comedian took to Twitter to defend herself

In response to the criticism, Jones took to her own Twitter account on Sunday night. Over a series of 16 tweets, she defended herself against the backlash and called out those who had given her grief.

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“OK I wasn’t gonna say anything because I know that dumb people know how to use the computer too, but now this is so ridiculous,” she began. “Where is the rape, idiots? I said nothing about rape, you f—ing morons. I was talking about being [a] match to another strong brother. Not being rape[d] by white man. What part of this joke wasn’t true? I would have been used for breeding straight up. That’s my reality.” 

She continued: “And it saddens me that BLACK PEOPLE bitch and moan about the most stupid s–t. I’m a comic, it is my job to take things and make them funny to make you think. Especially the painful things. Why are y’all so mad? This joke was written from the pain that one night I realized that black men don’t really f–k with me and why am I single. And that in slave days I would have always had a man cause of breeding.”

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Jones went on to say that “if anybody should be offended [it’s] white folks cause it’s what they did.” She added: “Y’all so busy trying to be self-righteous you miss what the joke really is. Very sad I have to defend myself to black people. Now I’m betting if Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle did that joke or Jay Z or Kanye put [it] in a rap they would be called brilliant. Cause they all do this type of material. Just cause it came from a black woman who ain’t afraid to be real, y’all mad.”

“So here is my announcement,” she continued. “Black folks, you won’t stop me and I’m gonna go even harder and deeper now. Cause it’s a shame that we kill each other instead of support each other. This [is] exactly why black people are where we are now, cause we too f—ing sensitive and instead of [making] lemonade out of lemons we just suck the sour juice from the lemons. Wake up.”

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“I wouldn’t be able to do a joke like that if I didn’t know my history or [wasn’t] proud of where I came from and who I am. My dad is the biggest militant in the world, and he would have loved that joke,” she argued. “My grandmother went to jail for whooping two white men asses for attacking her. She also was 6’2” and strong. And she laughed her ass off. Get over yourself and you might as well get used to it cause I’m good at what I do and I ain’t going NOWHERE!!!” 

Watch Jones’ Weekend Update bit above.

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